HomeKorean AmericanDialogue between Black and Korean American communities in New York averts boycott

Dialogue between Black and Korean American communities in New York averts boycott

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By Ross Killion, AsAmNews Contributor

A planned boycott led by a Black activist of a Korean American-owned beauty supply chain was narrowly averted following a virtual Zoom meeting spearheaded by Assembly Member Ron Kim, Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman and representatives of the Korean American Association of Greater New York(KAAGNY).

The meeting successfully facilitated a dialogue between representatives of the New York City- based nonprofit, 100 Suits, and Feel Beauty.

“During the pandemic, members of 100 Suits went door to door seeking donations”, Kim said to AsAmNews, “However, they did not receive a response from Feel Beauty”. Representatives of the nonprofit felt the company was neglecting the community they did business in and planned a boycott of the beauty supply chain. Fortunately, the virtual meeting held on July 3 managed to broker an agreement between the two. Feel Beauty agreed to make a donation to 100 Suits and to quarterly meetings to discuss community engagement. 

According to its website, 100 Suits was founded in 2011 by Kevin Livingston and focuses on providing business attire to underprivileged men. Feel Beauty is a beauty supply store with at least seven locations throughout Queens. 

“This is not the first dispute between Black and Asian American communities in New York”, says Kim, “Last year a fight broke out at a Chinese-owned nail salon in Brooklyn between employees and customers over a dispute about money”.

Unfortunately, this conflict was not solved and the nail salon eventually closed down. Historically, tensions between the two communities have stemmed from perceptions among Asians that Asian businesses are targeted for looting during protests. On the other hand, Asians are perceived as not being engaged in the communities they make money in and only focused on business. 

According to Kim, the intervention not only helped to diffuse an escalating conflict between the two communities but also established a long-term partnership between entities representing each community. This will hopefully reduce ongoing tensions and prevent future misunderstandings. 

Kim is serving his third term as representative of the 40th Assembly District of New York which includes his hometown of Flushing. As stated on the New York State Assembly website, he is the first Korean American in the New York State Legislature.

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  1. By any name, this Donation request/demand by 100 Suits is extortion. No one should be threatened with a boycott if they don’t want to “Voluntarily donate” to any cause. By simply providing beauty supplies, Feel Beauty is already contributing to the community. Treatment by organizations like 100 Suits is exactly why supermarkets will not open in certain locations. How is 100 Suits behaving any differently than the Tongs in Chinatowns, the Yakuza, the Mafia, or any other organized criminals. Kim’s “brokering” is Re-Education that has only facilitated this extortion. And only leads to more demands disguised as requests for voluntary donations.


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